A Southampton midfielder has revealed why he thinks Southampton will have a better chance of beating Liverpool than they did against Burnley.
Oriol Romeu has told the Daily Echo that he believes that the way in which Burnley played longer balls meant that Southampton were unable to press higher up the pitch and win the ball in aggressive areas.
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side had a 12-minute capitulation on the weekend as Burnley turned them over 3-0, with Ashley Barnes grabbing a double.
Speaking to the Daily Echo, Romeu said: “I think it’s important because when teams play long balls, it makes it really hard to get chances.
“It means that we have to be further away from their box when we eventually get the ball and that limits the opportunities we will get on their goal.
“It’s easier for us to play against teams who take more risks and play out from the back.”
“There will be more chances to score against Liverpool.
“Burnley didn’t play anything from the back because it was all long balls which didn’t give us the chance to get higher up the pitch.
“The chances will come against Liverpool because they will take more risks and that will give us more opportunities to score goals. Hopefully, we can put them under pressure.”
While you can see Romeu’s argument that Southampton would naturally be better suited to sides who play out from defence due to their high-press, led by their aggressive and pacy front three of Che Adams, Nathan Redmond and Danny Ings.
As said within this talkSPORT article, “a high-energy press” is now favoured by Southampton to try and push the opposition defence back, which gets the side to win the ball back in good positions and put the opposition under constant pressure.
However, to say that they have more chance of beating Liverpool is still one hell of a statement.
Southampton weren’t able to adapt their game, and even though Burnley had the lowest passing percentage rate out of all of the teams over the weekend with 55.1 per cent, Southampton were still 18th with 63.4 per cent, showing that they weren’t able to adapt to play Burnley and be more impactful with their position.
If Romeu was talking about playing Leicester, for example, then he might have a good point. They played a lot from the back, with 63.2 per cent possession and a passing success rate of 84.8 per cent, meaning they may have more joy against pressing a side who are so focussed on keeping possession. Liverpool, on the other hand, played Norwich – a side very much tipped for relegation – but only managed 53.5 per cent possession and a 81.1 passing per cent rate, suggesting that they might not necessarily be playing out from the back, and will likely have no problem bypassing the press set by Southampton (all stats per WhoScored).
It’s quite a laughable quote from Romeu, really, when you consider that he thinks they are more likely to beat the European champions than Burnley, who finished 15th last season.
Although, you can see how Southampton aren’t suited to play against Burnley who do play long. Liverpool, alternatively, will press high themselves and will naturally limit Southampton’s pressing game, as well as have the passing ability within their backline to get around or skip Southampton’s press.
Southampton fans, thoughts? Comment below!